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January 30, 2020

Job Shadow Day at Grow: Bet on Yourself

The excitement and nervous energy in the air was tangible as 18 students from local high schools sat ready to learn about the real-world work environment at Grow Financial Federal Credit Union. The small talk and chatter began to quiet as CEO Thomas Feindt arrived to speak.

“Welcome to Grow Financial’s 12th annual Job Shadow Day,” he began. “One of the most important parts of job shadowing is not only finding out what you love, but finding out what you don’t love. Broaden your perspective with exposure to different areas.”

In collaboration with the Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay, Grow Financial hosted our yearly job shadowing event designed to expose youth to practical, available career opportunities and give them a chance to interact with company executives and team members from various departments.

“Don’t ever work just for a paycheck. You will never make enough money to make you feel satisfied. You have to find work that speaks to you,” Feindt recommended.

Several head nods around the room signaled agreement as the students listened attentively. Students took advantage of the opportunity to ask the chief executive officer various questions and received very candid answers. When asked how he handled career transitions, Feindt advised students, “Bet on yourself,” encouraging them to have confidence and conviction in making career moves. Standing out among the many thoughtful questions asked by the group was a personal inquiry, “How did you narrow in on this career path as what you like to do?” The CEO’s answer captured the unique spirit of optimism and member-first attitude of the credit union: “At the end of the day, it’s about how you feel. And I found a sense of worth in helping other people.” Feindt’s statement rings true to the heart of Grow—to serve people, not profit.

Ready for the on-the-job component of the day, the students divided up among various departments at Grow, including Dealer Service Center (DSC), Member Contact Center, Real Estate Lending and more. Participants were able to ask questions of their hosts in a smaller setting and learn about various job areas in the credit union. In a job market where countless career options exist beyond the traditionally endorsed job titles of doctor, lawyer or teacher, it’s helpful for students to be exposed to various job options. Ali-Cha, a student from Brandon High School, shadowed DSC throughout the morning and remarked, “It was interesting to see what they actually do day-to-day.”

Erik, a Brandon High School student involved with DECA, shadowed in the Marketing department. Previously residing in Hawaii, he moved to the Tampa Bay area with his mom, who is in the military and currently working on MacDill Air Force Base. The Marketing team enjoyed talking with Erik, noting the coincidental connection to the base, where Grow was originally founded in 1955. Always drawn to science but very open-minded about future career paths, Erik asked about the work environment and job functions of various marketing team members. He was interested to see how their backgrounds influenced their career paths, which has practical application for him as he decides where to attend college in the future.

The group of high-school students also took a full tour of Grow corporate headquarters, observing all the different functional areas of the organization. The finale of the tour was a visit to the corporate boardroom, where students arranged themselves comfortably around the Board of Directors’ conference table.

Taking in the panoramic view from the top floor, Amare from Jefferson High School surveyed the room from his executive office chair and said, “I could get used to this.”

Grow Financial’s Youth & Schools Committee was so excited to partner with Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay to host this event for the twelfth year in a row. The mission of Junior Achievement is to provide business, economics and life skills to enhance the learning experience of young people, which aligns with Grow’s mission to give back to the youth in the community. Through the Job Shadow day event, students were encouraged to regularly chase opportunities, seek continuous improvement for themselves and be excited that learning never stops.


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